CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT –
The "Brickyard" Soldiers of the Army Reserve's Indianapolis-based 310th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) unveiled a mural commemorating their deployment here roughly a month before the unit's Aug. 28 casing of their colors.
"This was a long process," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Viall, an information technician in the 310th ESC's Sustainment Automation Support Management Office, or SASMO, and the man who painted the deployment mural.
The chief warrant officer said he has a degree in graphic design. "I always do a lot of signs, tee-shirts and coins--that kind of thing."
Viall said he submitted several design ideas, which were declined, but members of the unit's mural design committee recognized that he could contribute to the effort.
"None were selected, but they were like: 'Hey, you can draw well; we suggest you come on the committee.' Most of the other people on the committee were good at design but not good at painting."
Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Justin M. Swanson, the 310th ESC commanding general, said he was blown away by the mural Viall and the committee created.
"The T-wall is extremely important to units as it leaves a mark on the camp which will be part of our legacy,” said Swanson, who also serves as the 1st TSC's deputy commanding general.
The committee, which in addition to Viall, included 310th ESC Command Sgt. Maj. Keith A. Gwin, Capt. Jo Karge, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Taflinger and Sgt. Patrick Los with Karge leading the team.
Karge said she had a personal reason for working on the mural.
"Looking at all the T-walls around the base is a testament to the enduring partnership we have here. I have friends that were part of units whose T-Walls are still here, so it is humbling to know that future units that rotate through might see our wall and say the same thing," the captain said.
Viall said after the committee came up with the design, Los put it together on the computer.
"Essentially, I digitized Chief V's sketches to create a digital version that allowed us to modify each individual element based on the commanding general's feedback without having to recreate everything from scratch each time we made an edit," Los said.
"This not only let us show the CG a more accurate representation but also allowed us to quickly make changes without taking us away from our primary jobs," he said.
The mural design plays upon the Indianapolis Speedway's nickname "The Brickyard," he said. Viall first painted the mural brick red and then added on the different elements on top, such as the center of the mural, which shows the speedway and two race cars with Army Reserve and other logos. The impression is that one is looking through a hole knocked out of a brick wall.
Swanson wanted the original symbol in the middle to be like the symbol at the Indianapolis Speedway, like The Pagoda," the chief warrant officer said. The Pagoda is the 13-story tower structure at the speedway with 10 glass-encased levels for race control and viewing boxes.
Another element the Swanson wanted was to honor the speedway's winged logo of the speedway, he said.
"He wanted to remove the tire and put the 310th symbol--it was his vision, and he wanted, instead of the flags above it--he wanted the flags of all the units that we supported," he said.
"Command Sergeant Major Gwin suggested we put in different landmarks that were in the Indy area," Viall said. "The Soldiers Memorial and other items, but none of them worked really well."
Rather than going with the Indianapolis landmarks, the committee came up with the idea of balancing The Pagoda on the right with the unit's brick headquarters building, the Spc. Luke P. Frist Army Reserve Center, he said.
"It was comparable in size and shape to offset The Pagoda," he said.
Swanson said the final design captured the spirit of the command's deployment.
"CW2 Viall's work to conceptualize, organize and execute the mural pays tribute to the Warrant Officer Corps dedication to duty and our unit," he said.
"It signifies the hard work and dedication as the mural on the T-Wall was more complex than most I've seen," the general said. "The work the team put into this was simply amazing."
The general, whose call sign is Brickyard6, said it was natural for the mural to homage the world-famous racetrack.
"My favorite part is the general theme which ties the 310th back to Indiana and one of the most recognizable locations in the racing world," he said.
"The 'Brickyard' located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is as historic as is the mission the 310th executed during its deployment to CENTCOM," he said.
Viall said he painted another deployment mural that he completed in the first week of July. Still, when the general came to check it out, the two men had a conversation that led to the native of Kansas City, Missouri, who grew up at 29 Palms, California, because of his Marine father, to paint the mural over and starting again from scratch.
"The problem with the first draft is I hand-drew everything, and the circles on the sides were a little bit off, as were the cars," he said. "They weren't perfectly straight. I had trouble translating their size."
The general told him he liked the mural in their conversation, but he thought Viall could do better, he said.
For the second draft and final draft, the painter worked at night to avoid the Kuwaiti sun, and so he could use a projector to show the master design created by Los upon the blast wall, he said.
"When I had the projector, I still had to freehand a little bit, but to have the actual real items there to look at and go back-and-forth, it made a huge, huge difference," Viall said.
"I did a basic outline, tracing everything in pencil, then as I painted it in--I did a little bit of freehand," he said.
"I think it came out really well."